Oh my gosh, is it really 3 years!
As I sit here to reflect on that time I have to admit I feel a bit emotional about it. I know it sounds cheesy and everyone proberly says the same thing, but I had no idea this is where I would be 3 years ago, let alone writing down my thoughts 3 years on.
When I started my Etsy shop in 2016 I thought that was one of the bravest things I'd done. It's seemed so scary to put my work out there online for all eyes to see and start being judged on my creations. When I finally got sick of talking about my dreams instead of pursuing them I had to wait patiently for a sale to come along which was so nerve-racking. After a few weeks of thinking, 'have I done the right thing?' , 'am I any good?' 'Will people like it'? I got that sale, I don't think I'll ever forget it, I ran round the garden and shouted 'whoo hoo!' I was so excited and happy, just one sale had made all the worrying worth it and I started to believe 'I could actually do this!' The item sold (in case you were wondering!) was for my Personalised Hen Party Straw Flags which have gone on to be one of my Best Seller's.
It was suprising how much that first sale encouraged me to carry on, then once I had a few more orders, and received some feedback from customers who were happy with their items, there was no stopping me after that. I was determined! I added more and more stationery designs to the shop and got suprisingly busy quite quickly, and I had to fit it in round my day job.
During the summer of 2017 was when I realised the business's potential. I had the craziest amount of orders in peak wedding season, working weekends and nights, answering emails late at night and even on sunday's. When your power walking to the post office just so you can get back to replying to customers, that's when I decided something needed to change. I had never felt so anxious either. That is when I made the decision to do my day job one day a week so I could work on my new business as much as possible and restore a balance. And I have just kept trying to grow ever since.
When I started to reach out to other companies to work with them, I quickly realised I needed a website to be taken more seriously in the industry, so this is what I worked on next in 2018. All the same feelings came back, 'what if no-one buys from it?' and so on, it took a few months for a sale, and like before it felt amazing when it finally happened. And I have since appeared on Rock My Wedding, Bride Book HQ, and Papakata.
When couples started sending photo's in of their stationery displayed on their special day, the blog began to come alive. Having brides share their stories of their wedding experience was a game changer for me. Because who doesn't enjoy a real love story! And this made me realise what the purpose of the blog should be, which is to write about all the things that couples planning their big day would find useful, the answers to the questions they are searching for.
Building my little enterprise has been all the things, so much fun, hard work at times, very rewarding, and I've learned so much. When I look back, I had this idea to create and sell wedding stationery to fill my creative soul. But it has given me so much more then I could of imagined possible. Knowing my creations are being enjoyed all over the world and included in peoples important events in their life is a very special feeling.
The Fun Stuff.
Product creation is why I started, I just love making things with my hands, experimenting with a new idea, I always have done. You know when your onto something great when you get that butterfly feeling in your tummy, and you just need to create it or you'll burst.The thing with being creative is you need to learn new things to satisfy your creative energy, so I love spending time when inspiration strikes, coming up with that new idea then sharing it with my audience. I am trying to make more time for creation as this is what feeds my love for what I do everyday.
Writing on the blog has also become more fun, when your passionate about something it comes a little easier to sit down and write a blog post and I'm getting more into the swing of it, now it's becoming a more regular thing.
The tough stuff.
The tougher stuff when running your own business is, always deciding whats best for the business myself. After all I have bills to pay just like everyone else, so investing in the business is a big deal. I 100% from day one have gone with what my gut tells me feels right. I will sometimes ask my husband or family for their opinion, but I still make the decision based on what I feel is the right thing to do.
The other hard part is fitting everything in!! Time management has now become a crucial part of the business plan. I am no means bragging here, but I do everything myself. I get back to all your enquiries, I create your orders, I go take your orders to the post office, I work on the website, write up blog posts, take product photos, social media updates, order more supplies, I think you get the idea. But I am super proud of myself, and it's important to acknowlege that, without it like feeling your blowing you own trumpet!
What I've learned.
So, so much and I'm still learning, I think the more you learn the more you realise your capable of achieving. I did not have a fancy graphic design background like some, I am self taught, in everything connected to the product and wedding world. I just create what I like, things I would of liked on my wedding day. It's that simple.
I had used an art program when I did card making years ago, so began learning from that really. And since I got married myself I took a real interest in the wedding industry, I just love everything about it.
I'd say my biggest challenge so far was building my own website, which I'm very proud of. Not everyone does this theirself, but I wanted to learn how, it took ages, but I am so glad I stuck with it.
I have learned so much about how small business works online when your selling products, about how to use social media, and get better at time management.
I've learned how to make things I have always wondered how to do, this has only been possible because of working hard at my dream.
I never even contemplated how customers feedback would make me feel. It's the nicest feeling when I hear how happy you are with your stationery. Especially when I receive amazing photos of all the items set out on the wedding day.
Having a shop on Etsy has made me reach brides all over the world, America, New Zealand, Canada and so many more in between. So to think my stationery is displayed at an event millions of miles away is a pretty wild thought!
I work hard therefore I get rewarded with what I love to do every day which makes me happy. Being my own boss has so many rewards and I wouldn't change it for the world. I would encourage anyone with a dream to just 'start' as you don't know where it could lead.
Taking a trip down memory lane has been great for the soul seeing how far I've come and it's fueled the fire even more.
I cannot wait to see what's in store for the future of Confetti Sweethearts. I still have so many plans and goals and I'm more determined than ever.
So here's to another year I hope you will join in with the celebrations this month!
As you are all so amazing supporting me, I am running a few special offers this month to say thank you, so do keep your eyes peeled for them. A great way not to miss them is to sign up to the Newsletter at the bottom on the homepage.
Photos by Charlotte Maddison